Weekly Marketing CastWith the winter holidays around the corner, you have probably started planning email marketing campaigns around the seasonal celebrations. In its purest form, this type of email marketing is a way for companies to piggyback on something timely. So how come marketers don’t do more of this?

Generally, marketers set up emails ahead of time to send in the future. “But what so few organizations do,” David Meerman Scott points out, “is think, what’s happening in the news right this second that I can draft off of? What is the entire planet talking about that might be in some way related to my business that I can then use as an opportunity to send an email right now?” 

Piggybacking on newsworthy content and real-time events presents companies with advantageous opportunities to generate buzz around their brands at a low cost. Let’s look at a couple examples of how one business could have and one did effectively leverage this agile form of email marketing:

Example #1: Oakley Donates Sunglasses to Trapped Chile Miners

In the fall of 2010, 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground for more than two months. Oakley, a company that sells sunglasses, goggles, and other apparel, donated sunglasses to the miners, providing them with protection from ultraviolet light after having been in the dark for months. In the live broadcast of the rescue efforts, more than a billion viewers saw the miners wearing the sunglasses. That was some great media exposure for Oakley, and it could have easily provided the company with great fodder for email communication to its community.

Example #2: Home Depot Prepares Its Community for Approaching Hurricane

In late August, hurricane Irene hit the east coast, causing panic in many households that were unaccustomed to such weather conditions. In quick response, Home Depot sent its community an email with a list of items people should stock up on to be fully prepared for the hurricane. The list included a range of products, such as bottled water and flashlights, only some of which were available at Home Depot. Other items were those that people had to purchase elsewhere. This made Home Depot's email communication not overly self-serving but rather practical, timely, and relevant to what was happening in the country at that time.

How to Get Started With Agile Email Marketing

There are different ways in which you can start finding newsworthy information to leverage in your email marketing. Start by setting up Google Alerts for some industry keywords related to your business. Each morning, visit Google News and search for news stories that are related to your expertise. Nowadays, stories spread fastest on social media, so make sure you are following industry thought leaders on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. LinkedIn Today is also a great resource for finding the most shared and popular news within this business professional-focused social network. Leverage all these platforms in an effort to locate timely, relevant news to leverage via your email marketing efforts.

“Don’t just plan your campaigns far into the future. Take advantage of something that is happening right this second,” David advises.

Are you agile enough in your email marketing efforts?


Originally published Nov 3, 2011 7:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Email Marketing